Kevin Carnahan This Semester’s Final Innovation Award Recipient

CMU Faculty Recognized For Advancing Learning Through Digital U

May 3, 2019

By MAGGIE GEBHARDT / mgebhardt@centralmethodist.edu

Carnahan and Chad GainesDesigned around Central Methodist University’s Digital U, three faculty were selected this semester to receive the newly-created Innovation Award.

Digital U is an initiative introduced at the university in 2018 that provides undergraduate Fayette campus students with an Apple iPad, loaded with apps and other features to advance skills. Every CMU classroom and lab has an Apple TV, so students and professors can synch their iPads for presentations, file sharing, and other forms of collaboration and learning.

Kevin Carnahan, professor of philosophy and religion, was named the semester’s third and final recipient of the award due to his inventive and advanced ideas for teaching students at Central Methodist.

In March, Professor of Music Dr. Dori Waggoner received the award, and in April, Professor of Music Dr. Barbara Berwin was the recipient.

Using his iPad camera, a green screen, iMovie, and PowerPoint, Carnahan developed 33 online video lectures. The lectures will be used in the online version of courses he teaches, and will allow him to flip his classroom from the on-ground version of the course.

“Thus, their use provides standardization across the different versions of the course while enhancing on-campus pedagogy,” he Carnahan said.

Carnahan and his green screenAccording to Carnahan, utilizing the green screen technology allows for unique opportunities in delivering information. Each lecture is shown against a background that allows for the familiar “news desk” feel, where quotes, pictures, etc. appear in graphic boxes to the side of the professor.

“At the same time, the background, itself, it composed of an image that contributes to the overall learning effect. This allowed me to present a lecture on Plato in front of the ruins of his Academy in Athens, and lecture on Augustine in front of the remains of his church in North Africa, a lecture on Machiavelli with (a painting of) Machiavelli standing next to me, etc.,” Carnahan said. “Each lecture comes with its own background chosen to highlight the historical, political, or conceptual content of the lecture.”

Green screen technology also allowed Carnahan to be immersive in the backgrounds.

“In one lecture on Aristotle, I placed myself into the Renaissance painting, ‘The School of Athens,” he said. “When introducing John Locke, I placed myself in the main hall of Christ Church Oxford.”

Carnahan noted how the technology was remarkably user friendly, and that the use of iPads is easily expandable to just about any subject.

“And since it frees up for a flipped classroom, it opens the way for further use of technology in class. By having students view lectures as homework, we are free to have discussion, play relevant games, participate in in-class quizzes, etc.,” he said. “Thus, class time can be used for processing and embedding information rather than simply presenting it.”